Oxycodone goes by the trade name OxyContin. Other street names used to refer to Oxycodone are oxy, OC’s, oxycet, oxycotton or hillbilly. Oxycodone hydrochloride or simply Oxycodone is a pain reliever prescribed in the United States to treat pain. OxyContin is usually prescribed to relieve severe pain that results from injuries, arthritis and cancer. Oxycodone comes in tablet form of 10mg, 20mg, 40mg or 80mg. The color and size of the tablets vary according to dosage.
In recent years, the prevalence of abuse and addiction to prescription drugs has been on the rise. This is because these drugs can be easily obtained through a prescription. Oxycodone features among the most abused prescription drugs in the United States. Statistics from the United States department of justice show that more than 13 million Americans abuse the drug. In addition, there are one hundred thousand hospital admissions every year for misuse of painkillers.
Oxycodone belongs to a group of drugs known as opioids. Other infamous and illegal drugs in this category include heroin, codeine, morphine and fentanyl among other drugs. Opioids have some chemical characteristics in common. Usually, they interact with the opioid receptors found in the human brain.
As mentioned earlier, Oxycodone is a pain reliever that is also an opioid. Pain relievers are safe when taken under prescription or for a short time period. Normally, pain relievers have a euphoric effect besides the fact that they relieve pain. As such, they can be easily misused in a case where they are taken in large quantities other than the prescribed amount or when they are taken without the guidance of a doctor. Abusing pain relievers can lead to addiction, overdose and in some cases, death.
There are different brand names used to refer to Oxycodone. For instance, OxyContin as mentioned above, is an oxycodone-based drug usually prescribed for pain treatment. There is also Percocet, a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen which is an ingredient in Tylenol. Percocet is prescribed to relieve pain at different levels whether mild or severe. Roxicodone is another oxycodone-based drug. It is a quick release formula of oxy. It is used to treat moderate or severe pain. In most cases, Roxicodone is given to patients prior to surgery and for pain management after. Roxicodone goes by the street name roxi’s while Percocet is known as percs.
OxyContin tablets are designed to be swallowed whole because they have a controlled-release feature. However, since abusers are aware of this, they chew or crush the tablets to overpass the release feature. The crushed tablets can be snorted as a powder or dissolved in water then injected.
Abuse of Oxycodone cuts across all age groups. In the United States, addiction starts from people aged 12 years and above. Nonetheless, the abuse of the drug is prevalent among high school students particularly among seniors.
There are risks involved in oxycodone abuse. Those who abuse the drug will probably develop drug tolerance. Tolerance means they have to continue taking the drug in large amounts in order to get the high they felt at the first point of abuse. This leads to abusing higher doses to achieve similar effects. In the long run, users develop physical dependence on the drug and eventually become addicted. When such people decide to cease using the drug, they may experience withdrawal charges.
Given that oxycodone is a prescribed pain killer, a question of its legality is bound to arise. Oxycodone is classified as a Schedule II substance by the Controlled Substance Act, an act that provides for the classification of drugs based on their addictive capabilities. In other words, Schedule II substances are drugs that have a high risk or potential of being abused. Heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine are other drugs in this category. Scientifically, oxycodone is made by the modification of thebaine which is an organic chemical contained in opium. As a result, it is designated as an opioid. Essentially, oxycodone could be viewed as a semi-synthetic opiate.
Substances classified under Schedule II are illegal. Therefore, it is illegal to abuse OxyContin. The classification of Oxycodone as a Schedule II drug is warranted since it is a very potent drug and it offers very needed pain relief to many people especially those dealing with painful conditions and terminal illnesses. Oxycodone may have a definite medical purpose but it has a high case scenario of potential abuse which is why it is classified as a Schedule II drug.
Normally, people who find themselves abusing Oxycodone start out by taking a prescribed amount. Unfortunately, their bodies develop tolerance to the drug. It is very easy for a person to transition from using oxycodone to abusing it.
Overall, abusing the drug can have serious consequences on an addict. There are severe psychological and physical effects that are a result of its abuse. It is unfortunate that despite the risks, people continue abusing the drug. The euphoric effects become too much for a person to let go. It is necessary to be able to recognize when someone is addicted to Oxycodone because this can save their life. An opioid addiction is dangerous because there is a high likelihood of overdosing. Treatment for Oxycodone addiction is available, usually beginning with a medically managed detox and a good treatment program. Treatment is crucial because an oxycodone overdose can be fatal. The drug depresses an individual’s respiration and blood pressure leading to seizures, comas or a cardiac arrest.
In conclusion, abusing oxycodone is illegal though it is used in the medical community. In today’s society, this information is crucial because it helps governments and law enforcement agencies create programs and policies to combat its abuse. In a time when prescription drugs are becoming the highest cause of addiction, Oxycodone should be treated in the same measure as is meted against the so called ‘dangerous’ drugs like heroin or cocaine. Oxycodone is an extremely addictive drug. Being derived from opiates actually makes it similar to morphine and heroin.